Fire destroys top of wind turbine near Goderich
Published Tuesday, April 2, 2013 10:50AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 2, 2013 6:14PM EDT
There will be one less wind turbine in Ontario.
An overnight fire has destroyed the top portion of a wind turbine at the Kingsbridge Wind Farm near Goderich, Ont.
The fire in the seven-year-old turbine began around 1 a.m. on Tuesday and had burned itself out about two hours later.
Dan Hayden of Kingsbridge Wind Farm Operations says “It has burnt itself out through the night and we have a team of specialists coming to do a root-cause analysis.”
Neighbours speculate it was a mechanical or electrical problem because the blaze started where all the gears and electronics in the turbine are located.
Hayden says while nothing can be ruled out, it’s unlikely a lightning strike or any kind of sabotage started the fire.
Dan Morgan lives near the turbine and witnessed the fire. He says he “saw an orange fireball a couple of miles from the front yard, so I thought I better investigate this,” before driving over to get a closer look.
The Goderich Fire Department was called to the scene, but with the blaze 100 metres in the air, there was little that could be done.
Dan Hayden with Capitol Power says “There was a very low risk of the fire spreading on the ground and at that point we realized there was not much they could do expect let it burn itself out.”
It was the first fire involving a functioning wind turbine in Ontario, and Dave Hemingway with Central Huron Against Turbines is among those who are concerned.
“The local municipalities don’t have either high-level rescue capabilities, as high as these turbines are, or they don’t have any fire equipment to put out a fire like this. Then you also wonder how far pieces off the turbine will travel in the wind.”
A crane will be brought in to remove the destroyed nacelle and blades as soon as possible, then a decision will have to be made about whether the burned-out parts can be replaced.
There’s no damage or replacement estimate yet, but the cost of getting the turbine working again could reach a million dollars.